What’s the Difference Between a Deciduous and an Evergreen Tree

Deciduous and evergreen are two opposite types of trees. They are categorized by the pattern and seasonality of their foliage growth. Plants between deciduous and evergreen are known as semi-deciduous trees. They have characteristics of both. In this article, we’ll tell you the main differences between an evergreen and a deciduous tree.

What are deciduous trees?

Deciduous is a term that refers to trees which seasonally shed their unnecessary parts, such as leaves, from their structure. Most deciduous trees are broad leaf trees. Because of the structure of the leaves and the pattern of leaf arrangement, the effectiveness of photosynthesis is very high in deciduous trees. Unfortunately, deciduous trees have both positive and negative aspects to them. Since they shed their leaves seasonally (during autumn and winter usually), they are very susceptible to wind and other winter weather conditions.

The falling of the leaves helps them prepare for winter conditions. It ensures better survival in winter as well as high water conservation and protection against predatory actions. Deciduous tree characteristics are observable in many woody trees like oak and maple. There are two characteristic deciduous forests where the majority of trees shed their foliage at the end of their typical growing season. These are temperate deciduous forests and tropical (and subtropical) deciduous forests. Trees in temperate deciduous forests are sensitive to the seasonal temperature variations whereas the tropical deciduous trees respond to seasonal rainforest patterns.

What are evergreen trees?

The evergreen tree is a complete contrast to the deciduous tree. As the name implies, an evergreen’s foliage remains on the tree throughout the entire year. There is no seasonal leaf shedding. Evergreen plants have a huge deviation within them. They include most conifers and angiosperms such as hemlock, cycads, and eucalyptus trees.

This does not mean that evergreens never shed their foliage. Old leaves of evergreen trees are replaced by new growth as they age. Evergreen trees favor warm, temperate climates. Many tropical rainforests are considered evergreens.

What are the differences between a deciduous and an evergreen tree?

There are several important differences between a deciduous and an evergreen tree. We will list them for you here:

  • Deciduous and evergreen trees are opposite each other. Deciduous trees shed their leaves seasonally and evergreen trees keep their foliage throughout the year.
  • Deciduous trees are adapted to tolerate cold and dry weather conditions by shedding their leaves while evergreens do not.
  • Evergreens can survive with low soil nutrients. A huge portion of internal nutrients is removed during the defoliation of deciduous trees.
  • Nutrient requirements of evergreens are somewhat higher than those of deciduous trees during bad weather because of the need for foliage maintenance. In deciduous trees, it is high after harsh weather when the foliage is renewed.
  • Deciduous trees are more sensitive to temperature and rain fall than evergreen trees.

We hope that this article has helped you to better understand deciduous and evergreen trees, especially their differences. If you have questions on what types of trees you have, please contact us at 512-341-8888. We’ll be very happy to help you determine whether you have deciduous or evergreen trees.